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What you need to know for 01/23/2017

Gloversville woman charged with stealing from soccer club

Gloversville woman charged with stealing from soccer club

A yearlong investigation into missing Fulton United Soccer Club funds ended Wednesday with the arres

A yearlong investigation into missing Fulton United Soccer Club funds ended Wednesday with the arrest of the club’s former treasurer.

Sandra Yost, 45, of 129 West Bush Road, Gloversville, was charged with stealing more than $13,000 from the club over a five-year period. According to Gloversville police, Yost dipped into club funds from 2007 through the end of 2011, using her status as treasurer to spend club money on personal items and issue checks to family members.

“We only looked over those five years because that’s the statute of limitations,” said Gloversville Detective Sgt. Mike Jory. “She was treasurer before that.”

Fulton United is a countywide organization providing between 500 and 600 local children the opportunity to play soccer every year. Operations are largely supported by $35 per child season fees, along with fundraisers.

According to Jory, the club had just one bank account, to which Yost had sole access.

“She had the checkbook, and she used it,” he said. “There could have been better protocols in place.”

Fulton United Vice President Kelli DeMaio refused direct comment on the arrest Wednesday, but issued a news release on behalf of the club.

A few years ago, many board members stepped down as their children outgrew the program. DeMaio was part of the new guard that, according to the release, dug into past financial records.

“We … discovered that there were significant issues with regard to the league’s past financial organization,” the release said.

They turned over financial records to local police in 2012. Eventually a state police financial crimes unit also got involved.

More than a year later, Yost was charged with third-degree grand larceny — a felony — but Jory said Yost could face more serious charges.

“The club thinks Yost took a lot more than $13,000,” he said, “but there’s a big difference between what you suspect and what you can prove.”

The state police team found enough documentation to build a solid case against Yost for $13,000 in missing money, but the investigation is ongoing and Jory said they might turn up as much as $50,000 in missing funds.

DeMaio would not comment on how Yost gained autonomous access to club funds, but since the money was found missing, the club’s board has installed formal procedures that would stop anyone from covertly removing funds in the future.

“These procedures ensure that these financial improprieties cannot occur again,” the club release stated, adding that they plan to pursue the return of all stolen funds.

Sandra is married to Mark Yost, the Fulton County superintendent of highways. Calls to their home were not returned Wednesday.

Yost was arraigned Wednesday in Gloversville City Court and will return Dec. 18. Judge Traci DiMezza recused herself from the case, so an acting judge will have to be brought in.

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